12 Signs Your First Trimester Is Going Exactly As It Should
Those first three months of pregnancy — otherwise known as the first trimester — can be tough. All of a sudden, your body starts changing shape, and you're feeling all types of sensations that are pretty out of the ordinary for you. As you start going through the pregnancy process, undoubtedly, you’ll be excited and nervous. It's hard not to worry about some of the more unfamiliar symptoms. Thankfully, there are several signs your pregnancy is going well in the first trimester and everything is exactly as it should be.
The first trimester is defined as the time between the fertilization of the egg and the 13th week of your pregnancy. “It begins on the first day of your last menstrual period and continues until the last day of the 13th week,” board-certified OB/GYN Dr. Sherry Ross, M.D., tells Romper. You might not even look pregnant yet, but you’ll probably be feeling it. Your body is going through so many changes during this time, and it may be hard trying to figure out what is normal and what’s not, even if you’ve been pregnant before. “Many women delight in getting a positive pregnancy test after planning and trying to conceive,” OB-GYN Dr. Delisa Skeete Henry, M.D., tells Romper. “They are oftentimes blindsided by the not-so-pleasant first trimester, which can truly be miserable.” (Luckily, the first trimester symptoms tend to go away by around 12 or 14 weeks of pregnancy, Skeete Henry says, so try to hang in there.)
As you go through the process of making and growing a human, you’ll no doubt be very attuned to every little sensation and symptom. Here are twelve signs your pregnancy is going well in the first trimester to assure you everything is progressing according to plan.
1. You’re Exhausted
During the first trimester of my first pregnancy, I was useless by 3 p.m. and in bed by 8 p.m. Many other people in the first trimester likely feel the same. Get ready for mid-afternoon naps and 7 p.m. bedtimes, advises Skeete Henry. “During the first trimester, your body will be exhausted,” she says. “There is a tremendous amount of metabolic work that is occurring, and you will need lots of rest.” So even if you want to keep up your regular routine, don’t try to fight the pregnancy fatigue. Just listen to your body and rest when you feel like you need it.
2. You’ve Been Missing A Period
This one seems obvious, but it will probably be your most clear-cut sign of pregnancy along the way. “Missing a period is usually the first sign of a new pregnancy, although women with irregular periods may not initially recognize a missed period as pregnancy,” Ross explains. So, while this is a tell-tale sign for a lot of people, some won’t notice this indicator.
3. You Have Heartburn
There’s a host of symptoms you may experience during the first few weeks of pregnancy, and many symptoms can be explained by an increase in progesterone during the first trimester. According to Ross, experiencing things like stomach upset and heartburn is “normal and expected in the beginning of a new pregnancy as a result of normal hormonal changes and taking prenatal vitamins.”
4. Your Boobs Are Huge & In Pain
If you went to bed with a B cup and woke up with a C, don’t be surprised. Sore breasts are one of the earliest and most common signs of pregnancy and are caused by a surge in hormones.
“Progesterone increases during the first trimester, which makes your breasts exquisitely tender, achy, and sensitive.” says Skeete Henry. While symptoms should improve as you enter the second trimester, it might be time to go bra shopping. “Invest in some good-fitting sports bras,” says Skeete Henry. Keeping your girls supported can help assuage symptoms.
5. You’re Constipated
Pregnancy sure can plug you up — in all the wrong ways. If you’re having pooping problems, you can thank pregnancy hormones. “The miracle drug progesterone that supports your growing bundle of joy also slows the motility of your colon and bowels,” explains Skeete Henry. As a result, you might find yourself spending more time sitting on the toilet. If your constipation is problematic, you should speak to your OB-GYN about it, but usually, staying hydrated and upping your fiber intake should get things moving again.
6. You’re Bloated & Develop “The Blump”
You’re not showing off a baby bump yet, but because of excess bloating, you’ve got “the blump.” Ugh. “Because of the pregnancy hormones, the bowels are slow to move, therefore you feel bloated and full especially by the end of the day,” says Skeete Henry. The excess pressure in your abdomen and uterus can also strain your “down there” muscles, causing you to pass gas like it’s your day job. It’s equal parts normal and mortifying.
7. You Feel Nauseated All Day Long
Morning sickness is one of the telltale signs your pregnancy is going well in the first trimester, although the term is a bit of a misnomer. While you might experience it in the a.m., for many people, pregnancy nausea is a 24/7 deal — and it can be totally miserable. “Some people are more sensitive to pregnancy hormones than others, whether that’s estrogen, which affects breast tenderness, or hCG levels, which control morning sickness,” Dr. Abigail Cutler, M.D., MPH, an OB-GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital, tells Romper.
Until morning sickness subsides (typically after the first trimester), there are things you can do to ease the quease. “I recommend ginger tea or ginger candy,” says Skeete Henry. “Eating small meals throughout the day may help, too.” Even acupuncture can help relieve nausea.
8. You Have Frequent Headaches
Early pregnancy headaches can be triggered by many different things, but this onset of pain is often brought on by morning sickness. “Many patients have sporadic and intermittent nausea and vomiting with related relative dehydration, and that can also cause headaches,” Dr. Angela Bianco, an OB-GYN and maternal-fetal medicine specialist who specializes in high-risk pregnancies in the Mount Sinai Health system, previously told Romper.
9. You Have Food Cravings & Aversions
If you thought that food cravings only come during the later stages of pregnancy, think again. According to Ross, hormones play a role in food cravings too, “including cravings for nonfoods like clay, dirt, and laundry starch.”
It’s also thought that maybe the theory of “your body craves what your body needs” is actually true. “Some scientists theorize that pregnancy cravings and food aversions reflect the need to meet a growing fetus's most basic energetic demands,” says Cutler.
10. You See Thick Vaginal Discharge
Thin, milky, white discharge, or leukorrhea, is a common pregnancy symptom. The discharge is caused by your body’s hormonal changes in early pregnancy. The increased blood flow to the pelvic area stimulates your body’s mucous membranes. “Pregnancy hormones increase the cervical mucus and increase vaginal discharge,” says Skeete Henry. “Normal discharge is typically pasty, clear to whitish in color, and odorless.”
You may need to wear a pad to protect your undies during your pregnancy (but not a tampon, since it isn’t really safe). If your vaginal discharge has a foul-smelling odor or is green or yellow in color, Skeete Henry says to tell your doctor.
11. You Are Peeing A Lot
Frequent urination, even in early pregnancy without the weight of a baby, is very normal. “Your blood volume can increase fivefold during pregnancy,” explains Skeete Henry. “Since your kidneys are filtering lots more blood, this will create more urine, and therefore you will pee more.” While peeing all the time isn’t pleasant, it’s a natural part of pregnancy.
12. You Don't Have Any Symptoms
When you spotted those two little lines on the pregnancy stick, you prepared yourself for the onslaught of symptoms that you imagined would occur. And then… nothing. Not to worry, though. “Sometimes no signs are the best sign,” certified nurse practitioner Emily Silver tells Romper. “You may feel great and that is OK, and it’s also a sign of a very healthy pregnancy.” Skeete Henry adds, “If everything is confirmed normal with the pregnancy, then consider yourself lucky!"
Your body is going through such a transformation in the first trimester, and the changes may feel really weird or simply uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing any of the above, it simply means your body and baby are doing what they need to do. Taking care of yourself and keeping an open line of communication with your healthcare provider will ensure that you stay on track for your second trimester, and eventually, your baby’s delivery.
Dr. Delisa Skeete Henry, M.D., FACOG, OB-GYN
Dr. Abigail Cutler, M.D., MPH, OB-GYN at Yale, New Haven Hospital
Emily Silver, Certified Nurse Practitioner